The city of Richland will allow improvements to continue at Fran Rish Stadium without forcing the school district to add more toilets on the visitor side of the field.
The Richland School District was preparing to pay an additional $1.4 million to build 25 more men's and women's toilets at the stadium to comply with new codes, district staff said. That put the price tag for the stadium improvements at $3.4 million, up from an original $2 million.
However, the city recently sent a letter to the district indicating the additional toilets won't be required because work on the project began before new building codes were adopted in 2013.
"They had done the design work and we gave them an out," said Rick Simon, Richland's manager of development services.
The district is making safety upgrades to the visitor side of the stadium, including installation of new bleachers and restroom improvements, as part of the $98 million bond approved by voters last year.
The improvements were designed based on building codes updated in 2009, said Kevin Knodel, the district's executive director of capital projects. But the recent change to the codes would have required the additional restrooms or the reduction of the 2,000-seat capacity of the visitor side by half.
District officials said they'll ask the school board's permission to begin seeking construction bids later this month. Construction would begin after football season and go through the winter until track and field season begins.
In other district construction news, Fowler General Construction of Richland will build the district's newest elementary school in the suburbs south of the city center.
The district will pay Fowler just under $16 million to build the school on a 12-acre site near the intersection of Westcliffe Boulevard and Brantingham Road. It's scheduled to open for the 2015-16 school year.
Fowler is also rebuilding Sacajawea and Lewis & Clark elementary schools in central Richland. All of the school projects are being paid for out of the district's voter-approved bond.
-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald